Say, Be Kind To Yourself

Say, are you kind to yourself?  Lately, I have been anything but.  I’m running on fumes, whatever it is that really means.  I guess you could say I’m living on coffee, coke and baby laughs these days.  My sleep is little and my thoughts are too many.  Well, today, I’ve been trying to organize a few thoughts and this is what I’ve come up with.  I need to be kind to myself so I can be kind to others.  Makes sense, yes?  I went ahead and made a list of some ways I need to be kind to myself.  I’m keeping it simple folks.  And guess what, if I fail at some or most on any given day or week than I’m not making a deal of it because I’m going to be kind to myself. The truth is, I’m hard on myself (hello, perfectionist types).  And the same principle applies here.  I’ve come to find out that since I am hard on myself, I can sometimes be hard on others.  But the truth is, I want to be kind and graceful towards others (and I want them to be kind and graceful towards me).  So, I’m going to start with myself.

And here is how :

And here is a bit of a breakdown for me (still keeping it simple) :

01.  Feed Your Soul daily : for me that is reading, journaling, praying, meditating
02. LOL and then reapeat :  i don’t laugh enough.  i want to find something to laugh out loud about every. single. day. laughter is medicine, after all.
03.  Be Mindful of . . .  : whatever it is you need to be mindful about.  for me its food.  Eat foods that nourish.  portion control.  sometimes foods + always foods.
04. Make something —> anything : bake, write, craft.  even writing out this list and quote on paper felt good to do.
05.  Pamper yourself in practical ways : wash my face at night.  go to bed on time.  take a bath.  go to a movie.  whatever little luxury is necessary.
06.  Move your body everyday : exercise, walk, breathe deep – something even if it is small daily.
07.  Love without conditions : love and expect nothing in return.
08.  Listing to your thoughts and create new ones: find quiet time to listen to your thoughts + sort through them.  then dream something up…anything.

What about you?  Are you kind to yourself?  Are you hard on yourself?   I encourage you to make your own kind list or feel free to adopt mine and personalize it to your life.  If you do, I’d love for you to share it (feel free to leave a link in the comments section of this post).

Be kind to yourself so you can be kind to others!  xo . t


Soul Food

Do you ever find that this and that really aren’t that important. Sometimes I spend a lot of time, even thoughts, on things that aren’t so productive, not very necessary and in the end not that important. Every now and again it’s good to take a break from it all and get a clear perspective, realignment, readjustment and refreshment. A time to not just feed my body or even my mind but my soul.

I’m taking the next couple of days off, well not totally off from regular duties, but from the daily routine (just as welcome of a break for me) for just that and to attend Original Conference. I’m so looking forward to this mini break and meal for my soul, not to mention… that many girls in one place, that always brings fun!

Have a beautiful weekend. I hope if you need a break or some clear perspective that you will find sometime time all to yourself for just that. Sometimes just stopping and being still and quiet really does the trick.


image . Atlanta Bartlett .


Say / Inner Beauty

I have been busy busy these days working on decorating and styling for Original Conference.  These are some pictures from last year, that I don’t think I ever shared?  I still love the giant heart painting.  But…what I’m really excited to show you is pictures from this year (and I’ll be sure to do so in the next week or two).  We did some really fun things!

Original is one of my fave conferences and I look forward to it every year. 1,500 girls gathered in one place to have fun, learn, grow and give.

Say, do you spend enough time focusing on inner beauty and things that make you shine from the inside out?  You know, feeding your soul.  I certainly don’t.  I used to but lately I’m feeling very unshiny and all kinds of dull, actually.  Feeding my soul has always been an important part of my life.  It’s kind of what keeps me going.  It gives me balance when every thing seems out of whack, stability when all around me is uncertain, joy in the midst of painful times, gratitude even when I have needs to be met and mostly it gives me purpose.  I don’t like going about my day to day without a purpose.  And lately, most days feel like I am wandering about aimlessly or maybe I should say running and scrambling about aimlessly.  I need a bit of a refuel and a centering. Do you ever feel this way? And tell me what kinds of things do you do to feed your soul and focus on inner beauty?

It always helps me to get away for a bit, even just an afternoon and to spend some quiet time thinking, writing and reflecting.  Sometimes just hearing nothing speaks louder than words.  And what I find is, that what I need to hear the most is sometimes only heard when I’m still or when I’ve closed out all of the daily noise.

The next couple of days, while I’m at the conference, I’m planning on feasting my soul.  And am hoping to brighten up a bit … from the inside out.

You can read more about Original here and who knows maybe I’ll see you there next year?


Don’t Judge Me

“Don’t judge me.”

It’s the line I’ve been hearing on repeat these days.

You too?

“Don’t judge me.”

It’s the line I’ve been hearing on repeat these days. Not from strangers. From family. From friends.

Honestly, I had to ask myself (and one of my friends), “Am I judgemental?” I was beginning to wonder based on the frequency of the phrase.

The friend answered, “no,” but I couldn’t quite answer myself the same. I can be judgy. More than I want to be.


Last week, I was in the checkout line at the grocery. I saw a card advertising that my local grocery store now offers online shopping (along with a $10 off coupon). It felt like Christmas (I know this is nothing new for most, but in my smallish town it feels like logging on to AOL for the first time) or at least like a Monday afternoon jackpot.

I became giddy and told the check out girl, “Well, this is the best news I’ve gotten in a long time.” She replied back, “I would never buy my groceries online. I don’t want other people picking out my food.”

“Yeah, I don’t know how I feel about someone picking out my produce? I’m really picky about produce,” I replied.

“I think if you are capable of getting your own groceries you should,” she said. Or something to that effect.

I felt a slight sting. My mouth full–five reasons, at the ready, as to why I’m not lazy and how this would help me so much during a crazy time in my life.

I have four kids.
All three of my boys are playing basketball.
My daughter has drivers ed every night.
I’m working on a new website.
I’m launching a book.
etc. etc. etc.

“Don’t judge me.”

She rambled on and I swallowed the opinion, viscous, like mashed potatoes.

I drove off digesting the words she spoke, and the ones I didn’t. What I concluded was that I, in reaction, self-judged.

I judge myself in reaction and many times for no reason at all.


I have noticed, this past year, that I spend a lot of time defending myself, my decisions, sometimes even, my personality. It’s become second nature. And the thing is, once you are aware, you cannot be unaware. So here I am, slowly, trying to change this pattern. I don’t need to give the grocery girl my “My Five Reasons Why” so that she can believe that I’m not a lazy person. I don’t need to justify my desire to try online grocery shopping. I don’t need to defend myself.


One thing I know is that judgemental people are often very hard on themselves. They create well-meaning standards for themselves and then, without even realizing it, impose their ideals, their measures, upon others. This is what I’ve been guilty of. Not so much the surfacey starring someone up and down and judging their appearance, but, maybe, at times measuring how other’s have mothered, spent their time, or money. The things I judge myself on too.

How can I even begin to make a conclusion on a person or situation when I don’t know their story? And even if I do know their story, I, likely, do not know their FULL set of circumstances. There is always more to a story, to a soul. There is much more to my story than what I share on Instagram, on the blog, in my vulnerable book, — even more than the words I pour out into my journal.

“Don’t judge me,” my soul reminds my mind.


On Judging / Don't Judge Me #lalalovely

I ordered my groceries online, this week. They are being picked up after I pen this post. I sat in bed, late Sunday night, making a meal plan for my unusually busy week and then clicked my way through the produce aisle, the dairy aisle, and, yes, the chocolate aisle (current chocolate fave, btw). I’m not second-guessing myself. I’m high-fiving myself that I was able to save time, avoid extra stress and still feed my family a few home-cooked meals.


“Don’t judge me,” they say. Don’t judge me, I think.

I’ve been hearing it a lot lately. My sister belted it out on the phone tonight when I asked her a question. It is a bit of a buzz response, however, it still has me thinking, reflecting.

Are my facial expressions saying more than my words?

Is my voice tone negating the words I speak?

Could my lack of (or excess of) words leave too much room for a tender heart’s interpretation?

I know my tender heart has spent far too much time trying to interpret.

“Don’t judge me.”

The more aware I am, the more I don’t want anything to do with judging. It’s not my job.

My work is to work on me. To not worry or concern myself with other’s opinions (even if they are opinions about me) and to not form opinions about others.

My work is to not judge–myself or others.


Do you often feel judged by others or even by yourself?  


The Skin We Are In

the-skin-we-are-inAs I’m inching closer to forty I’m starting to feel more comfortable in my skin. I’m owning my lines, the years I’ve lived, from the inside out and on the outside with products that help my grooves glow.


As I’m inching closer to forty I’m starting to feel more comfortable in my skin. I’m owning my lines, the years I’ve lived, from the inside out and on the outside with products that help my grooves glow.


I’m still a good, almost, year away. It feels surreal and strange and fake to say, “next year I’ll be forty.” But it also feels kind of freeing. Like I’m finally going to fly. Without staring back for approval, to see if I’m doing it just right. Without looking side to side to see if I’m in line with others. I feel like I’m going to fly at my own pace, soar at my own speed, stick with my flock, return to the nest I’m building. Again, again, and again.

Maybe this is what Emily Dickinson meant when she said,

“Hope” is the things with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all – “

I feel hopeful. In the midst of hard things, hurts, and forty-year-old real life problems; I feel hopeful. On the contrary, for most of my thirties I felt hopeless. Featherless. Bare.

But these past six months, I’ve been hearing the tune that the bird chirps, that the robin sings: Hope.

I’ve been deconstructing nests I’ve busied myself building. Sticks and mud and feathers (past hopes). Some blew away in storms and others I’m unweaving one piece at a time

Whether feather or skin, I’m becoming comfortable with me. Me as I was. Me as I am. Me as I will be. Comfortable with who I was made to be. And comfortable with a truth, that made me itchy for years . . . I cannot earn love or approval. I can’t work hard enough for it. I can’t be good enough for it. Comfortable with the other muddy truth that, who others are and who they are not, does not define me.

Untangling these ties is making me more at home with myself. Even though it doesn’t smooth the wrinkles. Even though my skin is getting looser by the day and the lines are etching and grooving, like an ebb and flow, alongside my smile and eyes. Making patterns and drawing a map of the life I’ve traveled so far. Happy times. Hard times. Joy. Sorrow. Pain. Pleasure. Life. Death. No two wrinkle ever the same.

I’m learning to take care of the skin that I’m in. To preen my feathers. To groom. To shower my soul in fragrant truth. To soak it in love, hope, grace, and peace. And to follow with a slathering of creams and things. Self-care, I’m finding, is for the inside and the out. Hand in glove. Glove in hand. They go together. When I take care of this body, I take care of this soul. When I take care of this soul, I take care of this body. So I give my skin a drink and I feed my soul. Two birds of a feather.

I’m coming to accept that I can’t stop the grooves, I can only make them glow. So, I’m caring for the grooves, the years I’ve lived, from the inside out and on the outside with a little help from products that protect, nourish and bring out a glow.

Recently, I decided to try a new foundation (accordingly as I’m building a new foundation for my nest), “Youth Liberator Serum Foundation.” It gives me a little more coverage. The kind you need when you are nearing forty. The name, maybe, says, it all, “Youth Liberator.” I can’t turn back the hands of time, but I can liberate my younger self that still lives inside of me. My true self. You know, the self you were once never afraid to be, because you never knew any other self than that. Uncovering that self, smooths over every groove and conceals what needs concealing.

With torn apart nests, I’m at home with myself.

I’m liberating my youth.

I’m preening my feathers.

I’m hopeful in the grooves and wrinkles of time.


If you are looking to make your grooves glow, to take care of the skin you are in (or if you just love a good beauty product) here is a mix of new ones I’m trying and a few I’ll keep on buying:

Pretty Skin Products | La La Lovely

SiO Beauty / For your décolleté . . . if you are a side sleeper (like me). So innovative.

GLOV / On-the-go makeup remover. So natural, just add water.

Trina McNeilly

Trina McNeilly is a writer and founder of La La Lovely, where she has been blogging for nearly a decade. With an eye for beauty, Trina finds inspiration in styled spaces, other times in the broken places and everywhere in between. Through soulful writing in the voice of a trusted friend she shares her finds and all about being found.


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